The measure, by Sens. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), is the most complex of the four pieces of climate change legislation introduced by Senate Democrats and it contains some of the most far-reaching objectives set by Gov. Jerry Brown in his inaugural address in January.
Steyer, who sat alongside De Leon at the Senate energy committee hearing, said the sweeping proposal "dramatically reshapes California's economy and breaks the stranglehold of fossil fuels to the benefit of all Californians."
The former hedge fund manager made an economic case for the climate change measure, arguing that if the state is an early adopter of renewable energy, "the rest of the world will have to follow us," stating forcefully that "this is good for California jobs."
The bill would require California to reduce by half the amount of gasoline used for transportation. The target could be reached by increasing fuel efficiency, expanding the availability of alternative fuels and reducing the number of miles driven by residents.